FOIA You? I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This!

Despite warnings of our parents, bosses, peers, churches, etc., about love at the office, it still happens. A lot. Although this column is longer than some love affairs, it’s worth it because stuff happens.

It happens at the State Department, at Justice, Labor, DHS, Agriculture, GSA and the IRS, the Pentagon, OPM and even, brace yourself, the U.S. Courts. What next? Congress? It even happens in NGOs like certain news organizations… but enough of that.

Our Valentine’s Day column was an appeal for tales of lust, romance, or just plain old fooling around at the office. The first one came in at 3:43 a.m. It was a long, and wonderful, day.

Here are some samples:

  • “Classic case in my Department was a high-level type having an illicit affair with a professional on his staff. This included several ‘official’ trips out of town. The soon-to-be ex-wife got wind of this and sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for his/her travel records with a complete explanation of why she was requesting these records. The kicker was that she copied every Department Field Office in the country. Does the phrase, ‘Hell hath no fury . . .’ seem to apply here?” No Name Please
  • “I can tell you from personal experience that office romances should be avoided. Due to my divorce, I found myself going back into the work force after eight years (of) staying home raising my three young children. With previous computer experience, I got a job as the senior secretary to the SVP of data processing at a local bank. Shortly after starting there, I was approached by one of the single VP’s for a date. We saw each other for a while without knowledge in the office of our friendship – at least so I thought. The relationship ceased after I spurned his sexual advances. A few months later, my boss left the bank and guess who I was, now, working for! Now, as my boss, he did everything to make my job difficult for me and even accused me in my performance review of ‘not keeping personal things personal’ since some people had found out about our dating. After my written response to his evaluation was going to fully disclose what I was being falsely accused of, he removed it from my review. Shortly, thereafter, I was lucky enough to get another position back into the computer programming field at the bank without his knowledge or approval. Needless to say, I was grateful for the new job assignment. I stayed there a total of four years before getting into the federal work force – with much more wisdom!” Beth
  • “In a former life at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, I had the chance to deploy on incidents.

    “On one fire a young couple sharp enough to program each of their radios to an ‘off’ channel for a ‘private connection’ but, not sharp enough to realize that most radios on the incident had built in scan mode enabled… Late at night and across the valley from each other they, let’s say, made ‘radio love’.

    “Not quite as tender and touching as ‘phone love’, but much more entertaining to most of the incident command still up and working at midnight. The Communications Unit Leader allowed them to get just about ‘there’ before she broke in and told them to get off unauthorized frequencies and that the entire fire camp was now listening to this heated exchange…

    Just proving once again that some people are just not smart enough to be allowed to propagate the species…” G.P.

  • “Back in the 1970’s (and at a different agency in a different city), one of the ‘big’ bosses was having an affair with a woman who thought she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. (We swore she would try on clothes and then buy them two sizes smaller.) They would both go out the back door separately as if going to lunch. About five minutes later, a group of us would look out the second floor window to where his pickup with the camper shell was parked. (We had previously seen both of them leaving the camper shell, so we knew something was going on.) The pickup would be doing some heavy rocking. In due time, the boss apparently decided to end the affair. One morning, ‘blondie’ arrived at work with a gun. (The entrances had no security in the ’70’s.) She marched through the building with the gun in full view yelling that she was going to shoot off his — well, you get the picture. One of the supervisors called the police who fortunately got to the building and to her before she ‘did the deed’. He did keep his job, but she was hauled off the jail and that is the last we saw of her.” J.B.
  • “I met a wonderful man at work. We dated and are now very happily married. As long as you don’t do the ‘romancing’ in the workplace I see nothing wrong with it.” Sandy@NIH
  • “In the early 1980’s I worked for the Metropolitan Police Department in a clerical/civilian position. Talk about a hot bed of hot beds! Everybody was fooling around with everybody else, married or not. One woman was on hubby #4 and her ex-#3 worked in the same office she did.

    “Anyway, there was a Captain there who was shacking up with a female detective who presented him with twins without benefit of matrimony. They used to meet in the parking garage in his van occasionally for quickies. One day she did something that (ticked) him off so he took a few shots at her with his service revolver. She forgave and forgot and then married him. He then admitted he was an alcoholic, the Department paid for his therapy and drunk rehabilitation, then promoted him.” Protected Witness

  • “We have had many cases of people getting caught, people on tape in the parking lot, etc. In one case a man and a woman were ‘sharing an intimate moment’ upstairs in our files area. The woman in question got bit by a spider on her posterior. The best part of the story is, she then tried to get her injury and medical expenses paid for because she was injured ‘on the job’.

    “By the way, the man from the ‘charity’ (in yesterday’s column) who used to be head of a ‘large agency’ used to write our sexual harrassment memos which always included in bold letters, zero tolerance policy. As we have seen with our Senators and Congressmen…those who shout the loudest in opposition to something, are usually doing it themselves. ” The Unknown Revenuer

    The Nearly Useless Factoid

    Close your eyes for a moment (after reading this) – picture the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. In your mind, was it shaped like a rainbow? In real life, it’s 630 feet wide and 630 feet tall.

    To reach me:

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